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LOYAL TRADITION: Annual Westville event described as one of the best ever | News

WESTVILLE – A parade full of kids and floats, a car show, a queen to crown, and lots of good food and arts and craft vendors made the celebration for the 26th annual Loyalty Day last Saturday, May 7, one of the best in Westville history.

The sunny sky and warm day were welcomed after all the rain, and visitors arrived in a steady stream throughout the day. Bubble gum-blowing and a sack race were among the activities for kids. Miss Loyalty 2022, Kylee Laginess, was crowned by the outgoing Miss Loyalty, Noelia Rogers, who also crowned Little Miss Loyalty, Sylvia Webster-Wolf.

The announcer reminded those cheering on the youth that Miss Loyalty receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Lisa Guthary was visiting with friends. She drives from Norman every year for the Loyalty Day festivities, since she won the hot dog-eating contest on her first visit. She likes the hometown feel.

“It’s comforting, and I’m the champion of the 2017 contest forever. I ate five hot dogs in five minutes with the bun,” said Guthary.

Martha Guthrie looks forward to seeing people she hasn’t seen in a while.

“I like to look at the food and vendors, jewelry, pictures. I bought a festival shirt last year,” said Guthrie. “I buy a shirt every year.”

People shopped, looked at cars, chatted and enjoyed a variety of food and drink options.

Alyssa Unger and Audrie Hall were deciding where to go next, while petting her puppy Joy, with Johnny Unger and Jason Hall.

Audrie Hall said the parade is her favorite part of the day. Alyssa’s was the vendors, and Johnny’s, the food. For Jason, it’s the cars.

At the car show, Andy and Linda Blackwood were talking to Robert Hall about their vehicles.

“We all have one in the show,” said Linda.

Visiting with people who enjoy restoring cars or looking at them keeps car show folks happy.

“I like visiting and hearing stories about how everybody builds their cars. Everybody has a story to tell,” said Hall.

A friend, Cecil Crittenden, walked up as they chatted.

“I heard Linda’s laugh clear across the park,” Crittenden said.

Brooke Davis, who was selling egg rolls and noodles, said it’s a fundraiser for the Impact Church Women’s Ministry.

“I like being out here and seeing all the different people. The fellowship is the best part,” said Davis.

From Searcy, Arkansas, Lowell McKenzie hasn’t attended the festival since 1986. He was checking out the vendors with brother Adam.

“I’m retired out of the military and I’ve seen big towns, but small towns are better. You know everybody and it’s nice to see the old cars,” said McKenzie.

He especially enjoyed seeing the old theater on Friday night while at the street dance.

“I got to go in and see it; he’s doing good fixing it up,” McKenzie said.

The block party was really good, said Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Fleig.

“We had a really good band: Country Xpress from Fayetteville. They were super-nice, and have been playing together for 20 years. The were interested in our town and what makes it special,” said Fleig.

She said the chamber is considering ways to make the block party better next year.

“We might ask if the car show guys will bring a couple of cars down to look at and have food vendors,” Fleig said.

Lola Fleig sat in the shade of a canopy, watching kids hop in gunny sacks. She was chatting with friends and family. On Saturday, she turned 84.

“I get to spend the day with my granddaughter-in-law, her husband and kids. It’s a very special time to me,” said Fleig.

Being at the festival brought back good memories.

“It reminds me of good times. I used to come to these events all the time, but I moved to Stilwell. I live close enough to walk,” Fleig said.

She likes to see it all, but especially the hand-crafted items.

“I go to the arts and crafts. At one time, I did crafts, beadwork and crochet Afghans,” she said.

When she found out she was going to be a grandmother, she started making Afghans again.

“My grandmother taught me when I was 9,” she said.

With beads, she made necklaces and bracelets.

“I’ve had the joy of teaching two of my great granddaughters to crochet,” said Fleig.

She’s spent most of her life in Westville; her husband, Victor, was from there.

“We got married and moved to Enid, then back home. He worked for the city and I worked for the biggest hospital in Enid. I like small towns because of the friendliness of the people, especially this one,” she said.

Sitting nearby was Teresa Fleig, who identified Lola as her kids’ great-grandma.

“She’s very family-oriented. Family is absolutely the most important thing. I’m family-oriented, too,” said Fleig.

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